Reading Gains 2014-15

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Reading Assistant

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I am passing on information to support and encourage families to assist their children, by using Reading Assistant.  Reading Assistant offers personalized differentiated guided reading everyday.  It consists of a private, patient and supportive 1:1 reading tutor.  The effective technology develops vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  In addition, the reporting system provides me with insight into your child’s progress and deficiencies.  After a story has been recorded, I can listen to your child read.  Because of the detailed reporting system,  I have an opportunity to provide further support .  I have the ability to pass on reports and recordings to parents and teachers. The program is extremely affordable compared to other outside tutoring.  If used as the protocol suggests, other methods of instruction cannot compare to its’ effectiveness.


Online Tutoring Results of Academic Potential Students

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The following information pertains to the achievements of students after participating in computer based reading and math programs. My findings are based on previous Academy of Reading/Math and SuccessMaker Reading/Math results. Throughout my years as a Learning Assistance Teacher as well as with Academic Potential students, I have seen tremendous gains in both reading and math. I no longer have results from school to pass along. However, I will show my findings from approximately 2 years of work with students participating in my online tutoring.

The Academy of Reading program
1.0 Grade level gain in 13 hours 30 minutes on the program

The Academy of Math program
1.0 Grade level gain in 8 hours on the program

The SuccessMaker Reading program
1.0 Grade level gain in 20 hours 30 minutes on the program

The SuccessMaker Math program
1.0 Grade level gain in 22 hours on the program


Selecting a Tutor

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When a child experiences difficulty academically, parents feel their child is the only one having trouble. The truth is, many children present with difficulties in reading, math or both. As with learning to roll over, sit up, walk, or talk, each child develops academically at his/her own individual pace. Sometimes parents feel they would like to help speed up the learning and begin to look into the many different tutoring avenues. However, searching for the most suitable choice can be daunting. Attempting to narrow the search on the internet turns out to further complicate the matter.

Based on my experience as a teacher and mom, there are a few things that I consider to assist students before recommending the best tutoring alternative. I first like to know the age of the student and the subject of concern. If reading is the issue, I begin to uncover whether the difficulty is with auditory processing, decoding, fluency, comprehension, difficulty with sight words or any other area. If you know your child’s reading level, in relation to their grade, that is also helpful. If math is the area of concern, I like to see if the student has trouble with understanding new concepts, difficulty with drill and practice, retention of skills, or any other relevant information. From there the process begins to fit each student’s needs with the many tools that are out there.

In assisting students, it’s important to develop a strong rapport with them and their families. Having taught students in preschool special education to grade 8 with a variety of learning needs, as well as having two boys myself, I see that each student has very specific needs. Not one program fits all. Each student should have access to a program that is focused on their needs and be accessible to the family’s schedule. Because of this, I see great strength in having online programs available for students 24/7. For families, being able to access resources in this way, makes tutoring an option with our often busy lives.

As you see, there are many things to consider, but essentially it comes down to identifying the student’s difficulties, sifting through the variety of options available, and then matching the student with an appropriate online tutoring method.

What is DRA?

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DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) is criterion referenced individual reading assessment, based on benchmarks of grade level texts. It is intended to be administered by the classroom teacher 2-3x’s per year. At the beginning of the school year, the information obtained by the teacher helps guide further instruction. Testing throughout the year serves to evaluate student progress.

DRA consists of three components of reading. These include accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Accuracy is measured by recording #or words correct/ total # of words read. Fluency can be measured in words per minute, and also requires good professional judgement of fluent reading. Comprehension levels are obtained by both questioning and retelling, and begins towards the end of grade one. All are important factors in a student’s reading ability, and each contributes significantly.

The chart below indicates the benchmarks for students K-3.

Frustration Instructional Independent
Accuracy 89% or below 90-94% 95-100%
Comprehension fragmented partial detailed fluent
Fluency minimal word by word satisfactory inconsistent rate reads in phrases

For Grades 4-8, the benchmarks are:

Frustration Instructional Independent
Accuracy Below 95% 95-97% 98-100%
Comprehension fragmented/minimal partial/satisfactory full and detailed
Fluency word by word inconsistent rate fluent/reads in phrases

When students are reading independently, with no assistance decoding words or understanding content etc., text at their Independent reading level is appropriate. For Guided Reading, class work, take home reading etc., text at the Instructional level is suitable.

The Benefits of Computer Programs for Struggling Students

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I am very passionate about the programs I offer, and feel confident you will like them. I monitor the reports and feedback very closely, and modify, upgrade or change programs if necessary.

Over the past few years, parents have commented to me about the benefits of choosing online home tutoring. Besides being less distracting than in a school setting, students don’t feel singled out by being pulled from class. Parents are pleased with how the programs focus on what is needed to overcome their child’s challenges. The program use is flexible and unlimited and totally individualized.
From the school’s perspective, I add additional support to a class/school etc. which helps ease the workload of teachers , because I am a qualified teacher. There is no need for on-site tech support and teacher training. I can support an unlimited number of users at any given time. This alleviates scheduling difficulties based on number of licenses purchased.
Posted by Audrey Deck at 1:22 PM